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she used to meet me on the east side

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Beca’s never been much of a dreamer.

Like, in the literal sense. She doesn’t often dream when she sleeps. Or if she does, she doesn’t remember them.

She is dreaming this morning, though. It’s the kind where you know that you’re dreaming, even while you’re asleep. This dream is muted and blurry around the edges -- a subconscious watercolor that’s more emotion than anything else.

In it, she’s bathed in warmth, drowning in comfort and contentedness. She feels wonderfully still.

Peaceful, even.

And she desperately doesn’t want it to end.

Consciousness pulls at her, eventually, and try as she might to fight it off she’s no match for the incessant beeping of her alarm. She groans, blindly jabbing at her phone screen until the noise stops.

Ugh. That was such a good dream, too.

She rolls onto her side and tries to conjure up the feeling again. Maybe if she holds it in her mind as she drifts back to sleep, the dream will pick up where it left off.

Then she remembers.

***

She remembers Chloe’s hair fluttering around her shoulders in the December night.

She remembers the cherry-vanilla slide of Chloe’s chapstick on her lips, the softness of her sweater beneath her greedy fingertips.

She remembers the blinding astonishment she felt when Chloe said she loved her, too; the way it knocked the air from her lungs and stung the back of her throat.

She remembers all of it.

Every impossible, thunderstruck moment.

***

Beca smiles to herself, joy flooding every inch of her.

She keeps her eyes closed as she reaches out for Chloe, searching for her beneath the covers. Chloe gets up a little later for work and she might not be awake yet, but Beca doesn’t care -- she has to feel this, too.

She needs them to feel this way together.

But Chloe isn’t there in the space next to her. Beca opens her eyes and confirms what she feared -- she’s in bed alone.

She can’t help the sinking feeling that comes over her, warring with the raw happiness she’d been drowning in only seconds ago.

She takes a deep breath and props herself up on her elbow, taking in the room in the early dawn light. There’s movement by the windows, and when she looks in that direction she nearly collapses back against her pillow in relief.

Chloe’s standing there on the hardwood floor in her bare feet, pressing up on her tiptoes as she looks outside. Beca gets distracted by her silhouette, the curve of her hips just visible through the fabric of her t-shirt, thanks to the morning sunlight.

Beca’s on her feet before her brain registers what she’s doing.

She pads quietly across the room, but Chloe must hear her coming, because when Beca slips her arms around her waist she doesn’t even flinch.

Chloe sighs happily as Beca crowds in behind her and presses her lips to Chloe’s shoulder. It’s cold here, by the windows, but Chloe feels so warm beneath the thin cotton covering her. Beca lets her hands drift lower, finding the hem of the shirt and fiddling with it for a moment before dipping under.

It feels like they’re both holding their breath as Beca’s fingers climb higher, chasing the heat of her, inching up Chloe’s shirt until her hands land on smooth skin. Beca exhales shakily as she rests her hands on Chloe’s waist, pinkies just above the drawstring of her shorts. Chloe takes a shallow breath, and Beca feels it beneath her fingers.

“Mmm, hi,” Chloe sighs. “Morning.”

“Morning.” Beca kisses the side of Chloe’s neck, making her shiver (and giving herself goosebumps). She doesn’t think she’ll ever get over touching her like this, after all those months of wanting.

Chloe covers Beca’s arms with her own beneath her t-shirt. Beca’s wondering why they’re standing over here and how quickly she can get them back into bed when Chloe speaks.

“Becs, did you see?”

“Hmm?” Beca presses her nose to the nape of Chloe’s neck, eyes closed and lost in the feel of her.

Chloe giggles. She gently moves one of Beca’s hands away from her body and holds her fingers to the freezing windowpane.

“Look,” she says. “It’s snowing.”

***

They call into work.

It’s a first for both of them in their young careers, and they feel kinda giddy as they don layer after layer of winter gear.

“I know we get sick days and everything, but it still feels wrong,” Chloe says, pulling on her warmest knit hat. “It’s like we’re playing hookie.”

Beca smiles up at her from where she’s crouched down, lacing up her boots. “Yeah, dude. That’s the best part.”

***

Even more snow has accumulated by the time they get outside. It comes up to their ankles on the stretches of sidewalk that aren’t shoveled yet, and it’s still falling at a steady rate.

Chloe loops her arm through Beca’s as they take off toward the park, going slow as the snow crunches and slides beneath their boots.

The streets are pretty desolate, aside from plows and the occasional bus. And it’s quiet -- so quiet -- like the snow is a blanket that’s been draped over the city, dampening every sound and making the world feel small and safe.

It gets even better once they reach the park. The trees are coated in snow -- as if they’ve been frosted -- and the weight of it has pulled their branches down low. As Beca and Chloe head down the main path it feels like they’re walking beneath a snowy trellis, trees bowing and arching over just for them.

“This is amazing,” Beca says. “I’ve never seen snow like this.”

“I know.” Chloe takes Beca’s mittened-hand in hers. “It’s so beautiful.”

Beca turns to her, wanting to see her face as she takes in the scenery.

But Chloe’s just looking at her.

***

Beca has only experienced snow a handful of times, but that’s a handful more than Chloe, so she adopts the role of Snow Expert.

Well, she tries, anyway. She’s only managed to lead them in making a few loose snowballs when she spots a group of kids going nuts a little ways off, and she and Chloe move closer so they can copy them.

(Good leaders know when to ask for help, right?)

The great (and terrifying) thing about city kids, Beca has learned, is their boldness. It’s not long before a couple of the boys notice them admiring their snowman-building skills and offer to teach them how it’s done.

And yeah, it hurts Beca’s pride to accept help from a couple of 10-year-olds, but Chloe looks so excited at the prospect of learning from these tiny professionals that she decides to suck it up.

Once the boys feel they’ve mastered the skills, they head back to their group. Beca and Chloe get to work making a three-tiered snowman, complete with branches for arms and pebbles for its eyes, mouth, and nose. Beca even places her hat on it for a little while, making sure the pom-pom is visible for the sake of photos.

She eventually lets Chloe coerce her into taking a few selfies with the thing (or “Buddy,” as Beca names him) and when Chloe shows her the photos on her phone Beca blushes when she sees how wide she’s smiling.

Next they make snow angels -- because Chloe wants a boomerang -- and even though Beca teases her (“Our whole feed is gonna be filled with these, Chlo.”) she can’t ignore how cute she looks, lying on her back and smiling up into the still-falling snow.

“Okay, I think we’ve got enough. You’re gonna be, like, soaked dude. Need I remind you you’re not in snow pants?”

“I have leggings on under my jeans, though.”

“Great, you’ll have two soaked pairs of pants, then.”

Beca rolls her eyes, reaching for Chloe’s hand to pull her up. Chloe takes it and Beca only has time to see the flash of her smirk before she’s being yanked downward. She shrieks as she loses her footing and collapses onto Chloe with so much force that even Chloe lets out an involuntary “oof.”

“Oh my god, you bitch!” Beca yells.

She tries to glare at her but it’s no use, because she’s laughing as she pushes herself up on her hands. Chloe’s smiling up at her, with red cheeks and snowflakes on her eyelashes, and it suddenly feels like the world’s narrowed to the two of them.

Perhaps that’s why Beca is caught completely off guard when Chloe pushes on her shoulders and rolls her onto her back. Chloe’s pressed against her, now, chest-to-chest and nearly nose-to-nose. Beca waits for the cold to seep in through her clothing, but if anything it just feels warmer.

“Take it back,” Chloe says.

“What?” Beca wets her lips, watching as Chloe’s eyes follow the movement.

“You called me a bitch.” Chloe’s talking to her lips now. “Take it back.”

Beca swallows thickly. “I mean, what else would you call someone who physically pulls you into a snowbank? Against their will, I might add.”

“Umm someone who knows how to have fun, maybe?”

Chloe leans in closer, nose brushing over Beca’s, and Beca lets her eyes flutter closed. They stay like that for a few beats, Chloe’s breath hot on Beca’s mouth.

When Beca can’t take the tension anymore she lifts her chin, but Chloe turns her head just slightly, causing Beca’s lips to make contact with her cheek.

Beca pouts. “Sorry, did you want more banter or?”

“Mm-mm. You know what I want.”

“Oh my god, you psycho.” Beca huffs out a laugh. “You are obviously not a bitch, oka--”

Chloe cuts her off with her lips. Beca leans up into the kiss, closing her arms around Chloe and holding her tightly. Chloe hums as she sucks on Beca’s bottom lip before grazing it with her teeth.

And, shit, Beca knows they’re in public right now, but she can’t help but retaliate by slipping her tongue into Chloe’s mouth. Chloe gasps against Beca’s lips, and that’s when Beca finally gets goosebumps.

Oooooooh! Yo, look -- those ladies are kissing!”

Beca frowns as Chloe breaks away before reluctantly looking over in the direction of the interruption. The kids who had helped them earlier are all frozen in place, staring at them with a variety of expressions on their snotty little faces.

It’d be pretty funny, if Beca didn’t want them to just disappear.

“They’re in love!” one of the girls cries.

A chorus of “ew!” and “gross!” and “no they’re not!” comes from the boys, and Beca rolls her eyes.

“Yeah, actually, we are!” she shouts, surprising herself and Chloe, who gapes at her.

In the distance Beca hears the little girls croon “awww!” in unison, but she barely registers it, because Chloe is kissing her again.

***

They go home soon after because, as Beca predicted, it’s hard to stay warm after rolling around in the snow without insulated, waterproof pants.

It feels windier on the walk home and they’re still a few blocks away when Beca’s teeth start chattering. Normally she’d be kinda miserable, being this cold, but it’s hard to feel anything but happy with Chloe beside her.

They’re waiting for the walk signal at the last intersection before their street when Chloe notices that Beca’s shivering.

“Oh my god, you poor thing,” Chloe says, running her hands up and down Beca’s arms. “You’re like one of those little dogs who shakes when there’s a light breeze.”

“Before you continue this line of mockery, I’ll remind you that this is entirely your fault.” Beca narrows her eyes, letting her teeth chatter loudly for effect. “I had every intention of staying dry and upright until someone attacked me.”

“Aww, poor baby.” Chloe pouts at her, bottom lip jutting out, and Beca can’t tell if she’s being serious nor not. “I’m sorry. I just couldn’t resist -- you looked so cute and unsuspecting. Can you blame me?”

“Yes, actually, I can,” Beca says, even as her face warms from the compliment.

Chloe bites her bottom lip. “I’ll find a way to make it up to you.”

It’s an innocent statement, actually said in an innocent manner (which is saying something, considering it’s Chloe) but Beca still flushes from the not-so-innocent way her mind chose to infer the words.

Chloe doesn’t seem to notice, because she’s running her hands down Beca’s arms until she reaches her mittens.

“Becs, these are soaked!” she says, pulling them off of her. “No wonder you’re so cold.”

Beca rolls her eyes -- because riiight, like that’s the only reason -- as Chloe stowes the mittens in her pockets. Then she takes off her own gloves and rubs Beca’s hands between her own, creating warming friction.

Beca can’t help but smile -- it’s a sweet gesture, and such a Chloe thing to do. Then Chloe cups her hands around Beca’s, brings them up close to her mouth, and blows a stream of warm air across Beca’s fingers. She repeats the action twice more, eyes locked on Beca the whole time.

“Warmer?” she asks.

Beca can only stare at her, and she’s grateful when the lights change a second later, walk sign chirping that it’s time for them to cross.

“Yeah,” she says, clearing her throat. Chloe releases her hands so they can keep walking and Beca shoves them into her pockets. “Much warmer. Thanks, Chlo.”

Chloe winks at her before linking their arms together as they continue down the street, and Beca wonders if her intent wasn’t so innocent after all.

***

They take hot showers as soon as they get home. Chloe lets Beca go first, since her shivering has gotten embarrassingly out of control by this point.

Beca luxuriates in the hot water, skin tingling before it finally warms. She sort of wants to stay in there forever -- turning their little bathroom into a sauna -- but she knows Chloe must be pretty cold too, so she hurries up.

She’s a little anxious about what Chloe might say when she walks through her room in a towel, now that they’ve talked.

(And kissed.)

(And talked about doing more than kissing.)

But she needn't have worried, because Chloe just breezes past her, wrapped in a blanket, on her way to the bathroom. Beca hears her comment on it being “nice and toasty” in there before she closes the door behind her.

As Beca dresses, she realizes she may have overdone it with the water temperature. She can’t bear the thought of wearing pants or anything with sleeves, so she puts on a clean t-shirt and a pair of cotton shorts.

She sings to herself as she mindlessly goes through her post-shower routine, applying body lotion and toweling off her hair before running a brush through it. When she dabs moisturizer on her face in front of the mirror she sees that she’s smiling softly -- something she’s probably been doing this whole time.

There’s a small part of her that wants her to guard her feelings -- to remind her that things with Chloe are so new, that they have a lot to discuss and figure out. But that voice in her head doesn’t have as much sway over Beca as it used to, and today she decides to flat-out ignore it.

It feels good.

“What are you smiling about?”

Beca turns to find Chloe leaning against her doorway, running her fingers through the ends of her wet hair. She’s in flannel shorts and a little tank top, and Beca knows she must have had the water cranked up to scalding, too.

“Oh, haha, um.” Beca shrugs and shakes her head. “Nothing. Just thinking.”

“Interesting. I’ve had some thoughts myself, actually.”

Chloe closes the space between them and Beca turns toward her instinctively, leaning back against her dresser. Beca gulps, trying her best not to imagine what kinds of things Chloe could have been thinking about in the shower. (Trying her best not to imagine Chloe in the shower in general.)

Chloe rests her hands on Beca’s hips, and Beca braces herself for whatever lascivious comment is about to come out of her mouth. But Chloe presses her lips together and glances away for a moment before meeting Beca’s gaze again.

“I was thinking about how important you are to me,” she says, voice soft. “And how I still can’t believe last night was real.”

Beca loops her arms around Chloe’s waist, feeling the backs of her eyes start to sting. “I know,” she breathes out. “Me too.”

“It was, though, right?” Chloe asks, crease forming between her brows. “It was real?”

It breaks Beca’s heart, seeing Chloe this vulnerable, this uncertain. She hates that Chloe has loved her for years and she didn’t know; hates that Chloe is doubting that this thing between them -- whatever it is -- is really happening.

Most of all, she hates that Chloe -- the bravest person she’s ever known -- is hesitant because of her.

And no, Beca has never been good at the whole talking thing. But she has to find a way to let Chloe know how she feels, to assure her that she’s not changing her mind; that she’s not going anywhere.

“Yeah, Chlo. It was real,” Beca whispers. She rests her forehead against Chloe’s and squeezes her eyes shut. “I swear. It was real and I love you.”

Bec,” Chloe says, letting out a shaky breath.

Beca isn’t sure if Chloe is going to say more, and she may never know, because she lifts her chin and kisses her.

It’s light and delicate, like their kiss on the roof, and Beca feels like she might break apart. She runs her hands up and down Chloe’s back, making her shirt rise up a little more each time.

Her mind drifts back to all the times she wanted to put her hands on her -- the cab ride home from Jason’s party, on the sofa in the karaoke bar, the first morning they woke up together, after Chloe’s nightmare, and the countless other moments over these last few months when Beca wanted Chloe and didn’t know why.

She’s done with holding back, now. And she thinks Chloe needs her to stop holding back, too.

So she dips her fingers beneath the hem of Chloe’s tank top, sliding her hands up her bare back. Chloe gasps against her lips, hips bucking forward and making Beca’s nails dig into her shoulder blades.

Beca changes the angle of the kiss, nipping Chloe’s bottom lip before she licks into her mouth. Chloe moans -- a sound that shoots straight to Beca’s core -- and eases her knee between Beca’s thighs. Beca has to pull away to breathe, letting her head loll back as Chloe rocks into her, pressing open-mouthed kisses down her neck.

“Wait wait, hang on,” Beca rasps, barely recognizing her own voice.

Chloe stops, but doesn’t go far. She rests her cheek against Beca’s, panting hotly beside her ear.

“Do you, um…” Chloe starts, pausing to take a couple shallow breaths. “Do you want to stop?”

Beca grips Chloe’s hips and gently pushes her back, putting some space between them. Chloe moves willingly, taking a step back as she searches Beca’s face, probably checking to see if she’s okay.

“No,” Beca says, taking Chloe’s hand. “I don’t want to stop.”

And she’s never the one to do this, at least not at first -- she’s too awkward and shy and weird. But today, as she holds Chloe’s hand and walks backwards toward the bed, she doesn’t feel anything but sure.

Chloe exhales heavily as she realizes Beca’s intent, following her across the room. Beca’s grateful when the backs of her knees hit the mattress because she doesn’t think she’ll be able to stand much longer. Chloe watches as Beca reclines on the bed -- still unmade, as they left it this morning -- and Beca’s near about to combust with anticipation when Chloe finally crawls on top of her.

It’s a heady rush, after that. Chloe’s lips are all over her -- her mouth, her throat, her collarbones. Her hands are on the move too, raking through Beca’s still-damp hair, slipping beneath her t-shirt, taking an achingly slow path along her ribs before finally reaching her breasts.

For her part, Beca can’t stop touching Chloe, either. She hooks her leg around Chloe’s hip to keep her close, kissing along her neck, her jaw, her earlobe. When she sucks on Chloe’s pulse point she’s rewarded with a moan so rich that Beca just sucks harder.

Soon Chloe has both of their shirts off, and Beca’s trying her best to work Chloe’s shorts down her hips -- no easy feat in her current state -- when Chloe pushes her back against the mattress and closes her mouth around her nipple.

“Jesus, Chlo,” Beca gasps, fingers tangling in Chloe’s hair. “Holy shit.”

“I know.” Chloe pants, nuzzling the underside of her breast. “You’re so fucking hot, Becs.”

Beca’s still fumbling with Chloe’s shorts when Chloe takes pity on her, rising up her knees so she can step out of them, pushing her underwear down with them. Beca takes the opportunity to shove her shorts and underwear off, too, and when Chloe moves to kiss her again Beca’s there to meet her, easing Chloe onto her back.

They look at each other for a moment and Beca’s struck by how unlikely all of this is -- that they’re naked in her bed with shower-wet hair in the middle of a snowy Wednesday afternoon.

It’s so implausible, that the universe would align for them like this. And yet it did. And it’s exactly where she needs to be.

She lies next to Chloe and kisses her, long and slow, as she trails her hand down her body, past her breasts and her belly button, drawing circles around her hip bones. Chloe’s getting pretty impatient, if the noises she’s making are any indication, and Beca can’t deny her for very long.

When she finally presses two fingers into her, Chloe moans softly, hips arching off the bed before grinding down on Beca’s palm.

It’s insanely hot and intoxicating, and all Beca cares about is getting her to do it again, and again, and again.

There there there,” Chloe pants. “Fuck, Beca.”

Now Beca’s the one who can’t believe this is real -- that she’s touching Chloe like this, pulling these throaty sounds from her (that have Beca pressing her thighs together).

It’s not long before Chloe’s clutching at Beca’s shoulders, making these sweet little cries that build and build until she’s shuddering out a moan and clenching around Beca’s fingers.

It’s the most beautiful thing Beca has ever seen.

“Holy shit,” she says breathlessly, peppering kisses across Chloe’s cheeks. “That was amazing.”

Chloe giggles before taking a deep breath, stretching lazily and running her fingers through her tangled hair.

“I think that’s my line, Becs. But yeah -- holy shit.”

Beca’s distantly aware that she should be coming up with a witty comeback, or just a response in general, but she’s too far gone to care. The matter is forgotten entirely a few minutes later when Chloe urges Beca onto her back and starts mouthing her way down her body.

Beca nearly blacks out when she feels Chloe’s teeth scrape bluntly against her hip bone.

Her thighs are quivering as Chloe parts them, and this time it’s definitely not from the cold. All Beca can do is bury one hand in Chloe’s hair and grip the sheets with the other as Chloe licks through her, right there, drawing a moan from Beca that she’s sure their upstairs neighbors can hear.

Chloe nearly has her on the edge of delirium -- practically squirming beneath her -- when Beca is hit with the feeling that something isn’t right. She props herself up on her elbows, getting Chloe’s attention with a hand on her shoulder.

Chloe rests her cheek against the inside of Beca’s thigh, eyebrows rising in question -- an image Beca knows she won’t be able to get out of her mind for a long, long time.

“Too far,” Beca says. She takes Chloe’s hand and tugs it with her as she lies back down. “You’re too far. Come here.”

Chloe smiles as she climbs over her before kissing the corner of her mouth. “Better?”

Beca nods, feeling kind of sheepish, now. “Yeah.”

Chloe kisses her again, square on the lips this time. “Good,” she says, pulling her hand from Beca’s grasp. “I’m gonna need this, though.”

Beca’s already so close that she’s moaning again as Chloe slides her fingers inside her.

“God, Beca, you sound so good,” Chloe says, lips moving against Beca’s neck. “You’re so beautiful like this.”

The words settle hot and low in Beca’s stomach, a pleasant pressure coiling just beneath them.

Fuck, baby,” Beca cries, just as Chloe brushes her thumb over her clit.

And that’s all it takes.

Beca’s hips are arching off the mattress as she holds Chloe against her, sobbing out little moans into the crook of her neck. It feels like an eternity before Beca goes limp, collapsing bonelessly onto the pillows.

Once she catches her breath Chloe kisses her again, long and wet and languid. When they break apart Beca hugs Chloe to her, stroking her hands up and down her back.

“I can’t believe it,” she says once she starts coming to her senses.

Chloe kisses the side of her neck a few times before replying. “What?”

“That we could’ve been doing that for years, if I wasn’t such an idiot.”

Chloe laughs, propping herself up on one elbow to look at her. “Well on the bright side, it gave me a lot of time to get good at that.” She lets her gaze rake down Beca’s body, and even after everything Beca still blushes.

“You did say you had plans,” Beca says, chuckling quietly. “And they definitely, uh, delivered.”

Chloe moves over Beca and takes her earlobe between her teeth, tugging gently. “Just wait, babe,” she whispers. “I’m just getting started.”

***

“Mmmm, Becs, this is so good.”

“See? And you mocked me for watching those hot chocolate YouTube recipes.”

“Well in my defense, it wasn’t even Thanksgiving at the time.”

“Whatever. I was preparing for this very moment.”

Chloe blows softly across the steaming surface of her mug, looking at Beca with a glint in her eye. “For after we had sex?”

Beca nearly chokes. “No! For after, like, winter activities and snowman building and stuff…”

“I know. I’m just messing with you.” Chloe giggles. “You’re too easy.”

Beca rolls her eyes and takes a tentative sip of her drink. She’s glad she took the time to make it from scratch, with steamed milk and cocoa powder -- it really does taste amazing.

They’re sitting together on the couch, bundled up in sweats and cuddling under Chloe’s fleece blanket. (It turned out to be pretty cold in here, once their body temperatures returned to normal.) Beca feels happy and light in a way she hasn’t felt since…. well, she can’t remember when.

Maybe that’s why she’s emboldened to introduce the final conversation that they need to have.

“So, like, not to be that girl, but... what happens now?”

Chloe raises an eyebrow. “With us?”

“Yeah. With us.”

“What do you want to happen?”

Beca holds her mug in both hands, letting it warm her. She shrugs one shoulder. “Everything.”

And, oh. She hadn’t totally meant to say that. But Chloe’s beaming at her, to the point where she looks like she could emit a high-pitched squeak at any moment, and Beca can’t say she regrets it.

Everything?”

“Yeah, I mean. Like in the usual sequential order and stuff. Not all at once. Let’s not go crazy here, Beale.”

Chloe presses her face against Beca’s neck, actually squealing a little bit. “Hey, you’re the one who said it, Mitchell.”

“Alright, let’s not get bogged down in who said what. The point is… you’d be, like, down for that?”

Chloe kisses Beca’s cheek before leaning back to look at her. “I’m actually going to need you to be more specific.”

“Of course you’re gonna make me do this,” Beca says, sighing. “Okay, um. Dating?”

Chloe nods, smiling like this is the happiest moment of her life. “I’m down with dating. So like, exclusive, or--”

“Yes!” Beca says, surprised by the vehemence in her voice. “Obviously. Jeez.”

Chloe smothers a giggle against Beca’s shoulder. “Sorry. I just wanted to see your reaction. And it was worth it.”

Beca grumbles and takes a sip of her hot chocolate.

“So it almost sounds more like… girlfriends,” Chloe says. She takes a sip from her mug, too, looking at Beca coyly.

Beca presses her lips together, trying to ignore how fast her heart is beating. “Yeah. I guess it does.”

Their mugs clink together as Chloe leans in and kisses her. Beca laughs against Chloe’s mouth before kissing her back, sliding her free hand around her waist, under the blanket.

When they break apart a few minutes later, she murmurs one final question against Chloe’s lips.

“So is it, like, too soon for me to ask about moving in together?”

***

Beca’s coworkers can totally tell something is up.

Alicia is the first to call her on it.

“You’re, like, way too smiley lately Beca,” she says, over bagel sandwiches at the deli next to the office. “What gives?”

Beca just shrugs one shoulder and tries her best not to smile. She’s not sure why she hasn’t told them. Although, they haven’t told anyone yet. It’s only been a couple days, and they’ve spent every second of their free time holed up together.

“Oh my god,” Caleb says, gaping at her with wide eyes. “You finally put a ring on it, didn’t you?”

Jason actually gasps. “With the wifey?!”

Beca can’t help the smile spreading across her face now. She guesses there’s no point in denying it.

“Um yeah kinda sorta...” she says, taking a sip of her iced coffee as she blushes.

Her coworkers let out a loud cheer -- Caleb raising his arms like his team just got a touchdown -- and people at nearby tables turn to glare at them.

And it’s so lame and definitely singles them out as non-New Yorkers, but for once Beca doesn’t care, not even a little bit.

She can’t stop smiling.

***

They FaceTime Amy on Saturday.

Amy takes one look at them, huddled in close so they can fit both of their faces in the shot, and nods to herself with this smug expression on her face.

“So, how was it?” she asks.

“How was... what?” Beca replies, cautiously.

“Um, the sex?” Amy says, like she’s talking to the dumbest person alive. “Oh my god, it’s so obvious. You may as well have ‘We’re boning!’ stamped across your foreheads.”

Beca groans, hiding her face in her hands. But Chloe just grins.

“It’s great!”

***

As annoying as Amy can be sometimes, she’s totally cool when they tell her that they want to stay in their apartment, just the two of them.

In fact, it sounds like she’d been pretty much counting on it, since she’s already signed a lease for a studio in Brooklyn. Beca has a sneaking suspicion Amy was just putting the screws on her by sending all those texts with three-bedroom apartment listings.

Well, Amy’s methods aren’t traditional, but Beca guesses they did the trick, in their own weird way.

Beca encourages Chloe to tell Aubrey privately. She has a feeling Aubrey’s known about Chloe’s feelings for a while now, and figures she should let them talk one on one.

Besides, she’s a little afraid that Aubrey will yell at her for being so slow to get her act together, so she’s happy to sit this one out. (She does get a slew of excited texts from Aubrey soon after, which is pretty sweet.)

A few days later they tell the Bellas by sending a photo of them kissing to the group chat. (It was Chloe’s idea, and the fact that Beca so readily agreed to it confirms, once again, just how head-over-heels she is for this girl.)

Their phones blow up for three days straight.

Legacy even calls them crying.

Before they know it, it’s Christmas.

It sucks to have to separate so soon after getting together -- Chloe flying to Florida and Beca to her mom’s -- but they stay in constant communication the whole time, just like they did over Thanksgiving.

(Plus, the time apart just makes coming back together that much sweeter.)

(And hotter.)

Once the holidays are over and they get back to the daily grind, it strikes Beca that nothing has changed, much.

Not externally, anyway -- the usual rhythms of their lives continue as they always have. Chloe does move into Beca’s room more formally -- bringing her bedside table, a few photos, and the rest of her plants -- but she mostly keeps her room as is. It’s just easier to store her clothes there, and it’ll be good to have a spare bed for when they have guests.

But, internally, Beca’s whole world is different. It’s soft and bright, full of melodic laughter and caring touches. She feels ooey and gooey and loved up in the best and grossest of ways.

It’s disgusting, really.

God she’s like so fucking happy.

***

Beca comes bursting through the door one night in the middle of February.

“Shit, it’s cold,” she says as she takes off her boots and coat. “Can it be spring now, please?”

“Aww.” Chloe laughs from her seat at the kitchen table, where she’d been typing on Beca’s laptop. “I’ll see what I can do about that, babe.”

Beca presses her lips together to hide her smile. She doesn’t think she’ll ever get over Chloe calling her that.

She reaches into her bag and pulls out a box wrapped in shiny pink paper. Chloe doesn’t notice -- her attention back on the screen in front of her -- and Beca is able to sit across from her and hide the gift on her lap.

“Still want to get Thai for dinner?” Chloe asks, glancing up. “The usual, right? Just about to hit ‘order’ on Seamless.”

“Yeah. That sounds great.”

Beca waits for her to finish the order, taking deep breaths as her pulse speeds up. Once Chloe closes the laptop and smiles at her, Beca places the box on the table and slides it toward her.

Chloe’s eyebrows rise. “What’s this?”

“Just a little something,” Beca says, glancing up at the ceiling as she smirks. “Open it.”

Chloe grins at her as she takes the gift and slowly starts to unwrap it.

“So I talked to the landlord today,” Beca continues.

“Why?” Chloe pauses, looking over at her. “He knows we’re not actually breaking the lease, right?”

“Yeah no, he knows. It wasn’t about that.”

Chloe lets out a breath and goes back to opening the present. Beca waits for her to take the lid off the box before she continues.

“I wanted to ask him about something that requires written permission, as stipulated in our lease.”

Chloe’s mouth falls open as she lifts the tissue paper and sees what’s inside the box. She takes out the item -- a bright blue dog collar -- and holds it up in front of her. Beca can see her eyes are already misty when she reads what’s embossed on the silver tag.

“Bandit?” Chloe whispers.

She meets Beca’s eyes with this astounded look on her face, a small tear sliding down her cheek.

“I figured it’s about time we make him part of the family,” Beca says, blinking rapidly to fend off her own tears. “I mean, if you want. The landlord said it’s cool, by the way. And your boss said he’s still available. Bandit -- not the landlord.”

Chloe just stares at her, shaking her head in disbelief. And if it was anyone else Beca would be doubting herself now -- wondering if she did something wrong -- but she never feels that way with Chloe.

So she just waits as Chloe sets the collar back in the box, walks over to Beca, and bends down to kiss her.

Beca kisses her back, heart nearly bursting when she feels the tremble in Chloe’s bottom lip. She stands slowly, never breaking contact, and loops her arms around Chloe’s neck so she can kiss her more deeply.

“God, I love you so much, Becs,” Chloe says once the kiss winds down. She tucks a strand of Beca’s hair behind her ear. “You’re my favorite person. You know that?”

Beca just smiles. “Yeah, I might have heard that once.”

***

Bandit practically pulls Beca across the threshold when they get back from his morning walk.

“You’re not even full grown yet, dude, how are you stronger than me?” Beca asks him as she shuts the door behind them.

She unhooks his leash and takes off her jacket (a lighter one, now that it’s finally getting warmer) before hanging it on the coat rack. Once she toes off her shoes she looks around for Bandit -- who’s always very quietly getting into something -- and finds him whining softly at the closed door to Chloe’s room.

“Oh my god.” He glances back at Beca, tilting his head, and she gives him the most exaggerated eye roll. “You’re such a mama’s boy, bud. It’s kinda pathetic.” Bandit whines again, making pointed eye contact with Beca. “I mean, I get it though. She is pretty awesome.”

Beca walks over and opens the door, following Bandit as he sprints into the room.

“Chlo, your child want--”

Beca’s words die on her lips as she spots Chloe standing in front of her open closet.

Completely naked.

“Oh my god, dude!” Beca holds up her hand to partially avert her eyes. “I told you this would happen one day!”

Chloe snickers as she walks over to her. She closes her fingers around Beca’s wrist and pulls her hand down.

“You’re, like, so weird,” she says, shaking her head as she smiles. “Nothing you haven’t seen before. Nothing you haven’t seen, like, 30 minutes ago.”

“But-- I-- Whatever!” Beca splutters. “I still think we need a system.”

Chloe winds her arms around Beca’s waist and steps in closer, pressing her whole body against her. Beca grips Chloe’s hips, eyes automatically dropping to her mouth.

“Baby, why don’t we just take the door off the hinges?” Chloe asks, in this sultry voice that she knows Beca is a sucker for.

Beca doesn’t answer, because her lips are already on Chloe’s.

***

(But yeah.)

(She thinks that might work.)